If you have a company threatening you with a bench warrant, you may find that they don’t stop after they talk to you. They may also contact and talk to your family even though you didn’t provide that information or connection. They may attempt to contact you at work and freely talk to your co-workers when you aren’t the one to answer the call. They may even go so far as to discuss your status as a “deadbeat;” and all because of an old payday loan. It’s horrible. It’s confusing. It’s upsetting. But is there anything you can do about it?
This particular trend in the payday loan world is all of those things, but don’t feel like you are alone. It is actually a “trend” – meaning that it is a method that payday loan collectors are using to attempt to collect on old debts. You can talk to them, scream at them, attempt to cajole them, beg or threaten them with lawsuits (or have your lawyer do so), but in my experience there seems to be nothing to be done about these horrid calls.
It’s difficult to say how this type of illegal conduct has continued for so long (and so continuously) without local or federal law enforcement agencies intervening to put an end to it. This situation is actually becoming fairly common. You take out a payday loan (it could be years old) and you defaulted on the payment schedule. The original lender probably attempted to collect at the time of default, but for whatever reason did not obtain payment. When they were unable to collect in a reasonable amount of time, the original payday loan company sold or transferred your debt to a 3rd party debt collector.
This type of 3rd party debt collector is probably an off shore company or a company that it almost transient in its mobility. It may move around with no fixed location in the US. These collection companies will call you, conduct skip-traces to find family or friends, and then call them as well.
When they actually get you or your friends/family on the phone, there are a few common tactics they’ll take:
- I’m on my way to the courthouse to have you served with a lawsuit for fraud. You’re going to go to prison for non-payment.
- I’ve sent your local sheriff out to your home. He’s arresting you today for bank fraud. Bouncing a check means you’re now going to get arrested.
- I’ve got a judgment against you for bank fraud because you bounced a check. It doesn’t matter if you filed for bankruptcy, this debt can’t be wiped out because it’s an act of fraud.
These claims are all untrue. There are simply creative threats to obtain payment on debts that you may or may not even be liable for anymore. There might not be much you can do about getting the calls to your friends or family stopped, but you can stop them from calling you. Stand up to the caller and tell them that you know they’re a fraud. Let them know that you know that he’s not going to do anything and that he’s going to keep calling. Be clear and straight with the collections caller. Tell them you know it’s a scam. Dismiss their threats by acknowledging that you assume they’ll be calling a lot because that’s how these scams work and that you also know they aren’t going to actually follow through on any of their vague threats. Then say goodbye and advise them that you assume you’ll be hearing from them again the next day. That’s it. In many cases, this type of response will mean an end to the harassing calls. Their entire purpose is to scare you into paying. Once they see that you are not scared, they move on to the next person on their list.
If you have other questions about debt, common scams associated with old debt or obtaining a discharge of debt through bankruptcy, please get in touch with the experienced southern California bankruptcy attorneys at Westgate Law today.